How we met highly ambitious energy and sustainability targets for Lot 3, North West Cambridge

Part of a wider masterplan for the North West Cambridge development, Lot M3 includes the development of 106 market residential units and commercial space (use class D1). All the homes in Lot M3 are designed to be Zero Carbon and meet Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5.

The new homes are arranged across eight blocks, ranging in height from three to five storeys, and are all entered via a long gallery. Almost all the new homes are east-west facing and incorporate dual aspect accommodation, with many enjoying access to two balcony spaces to reduce the risk of overheating.

Key details

Project name
North West Cambridge, Lot M3

Hill and the University of Cambridge


Services provided

  • Sustainability (Code for Sustainable Homes and BREEAM) assessments
  • Energy calculations
  • Overheating analysis
  • Thermal bridging calculations


The main challenge was to meet the highly ambitious energy and sustainability targets (Zero Carbon) whilst ensuring no compromise to the design or exceeding cost. On the whole, the further into the design process you get, the more expensive it becomes to implement both carbon reduction and sustainability measures, as the opportunities available diminish; therefore our early involvement was essential.

M3, north west cambridge - project image (15_049_NWC_M3_N4_indesa4).png


Our sustainability and energy consultants have been engaged with the project design team and the client from the earliest possible stage to establish how the Sustainability (Code for Sustainable Homes Level 5, BREEAM Excellent) and Energy (>100% reduction in CO2 emissions over Building Regulations) targets could be realistically achieved.

The resulting design has ensured the apartments are highly insulated. Detailed energy calculations have been carried out on all building details to reduce thermal bridging and condensation risk.

In addition, the scheme has been designed to operate with highly efficient heating and hot water systems. Connection to the district heating network operating within the wider estate has been made, to ensure energy efficiency and use of low carbon technologies.

To further reduce CO2 emissions, a renewable energy source through the use of photovoltaic panels, has been introduced; all located on the western range of buildings – the tallest element of the scheme, so as not to dominate the overall architectural appearance and avoid overshadowing.

Project statistics

Zero Carbon
>100% reduction of CO2 emissions
residential units
Level 5
Code for Sustainable Homes
BREEAM Excellent

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